Have you gotten your flu shot this year?

The Center for Disease Control is reporting an above-average number of influenza cases this year in Alabama. Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Texas are also experiencing an increase in influenza as well—these five states have the highest amount of flu activity in the nation.

 

This map from the CDC shows where the number of reported flu caes is the highest
This map from the CDC shows where the number of reported flu caes is the highest
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It stands to reason that if everyone is getting sick, your chances of contracting the flu this year are substantially higher. That’s bad news if you have children or family members with compromised immune systems—pregnant women, the elderly, and those with autoimmune disorders are especially susceptible to catching the flu. You know what? It’s bad news for all of us, really, because the flu is just awful.

Have you ever had the flu? If not, thank your lucky stars/rabbit foot/ whatever that you’ve been spared from this hell on earth. You get all the nasty respiratory problems: runny nose, nasal congestion that makes your head feel like it’s going to explode, a cough so hardcore you’d swear you’re about to hack up a lung, and a throat that feels like you just swallowed shards of glass and tequila shots. You’re running a fever—so one minute you’re almost certain you will freeze to death, and the next you’re sweating like a marathon runner in August. To top it all off, your entire body ACHES. You feel like you’ve been hit by a Mack truck and getting out of bed is all but impossible.

NOT. FUN. How can you avoid this torture? It’s easy. Get a flu shot.

Really: get a flu shot. The CDC does extensive work in forecasting influenza outbreaks to ensure that the vaccination you get will protect you from this year’s most prevalent strain of flu. It’s effective, and it’s easy, so get a flu shot.

Mom and Dolly, being totally awesome and flu-free
Mom and Dolly, being totally awesome and flu-free
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I got one. I got it at Dolly’s pediatrician’s office. I can’t risk getting sick and passing the flu along to her. It was ridiculously easy. The needle was so tiny I barely felt the shot. In fact, I was surprised at how small the needle was—I expected a comically massive syringe and this one was so teeny-tiny I could hardly see it. It took like three seconds, and I didn’t even feel bad the next day. My health insurance covered the entire cost, so I didn’t pay a dime.

You can get a flu shot at your doctor's office. You can even get one at your local pharmacy for about 20 bucks. That's a bargain--think about how much cash you'd be dropping on medicine and Kleenex if you caught the flu this year... or how much money you'd lose by missing work because you're sick.

Talk about it with your doctor or pharmacist, of course, as I am not a medical professional. I’m just a person who doesn’t want to get the flu. Be smart this year—do some research and consider vaccinating yourself and your family. It’s a lot easier that bathing in Purell and wearing creepy surgeon masks 24/7.